Some Essential Wolof Phrases

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*** See an updated list here: Basic Wolof Phrases 2012 ***

“Expressions Ouolof Essentielles”

Na nga def.Hello. (singular)
Na ngeen def. – Hello everybody. (plural)
Jaam nga fanane.Good morning.
Jamm nga yendoo.Good afternoon.
Fanaanal jaam. Goodnight.
Ba beneen.Goodbye.
Su la nexee.Please.
Jai-rruh-jef. Thank you.
Agsil.You’re welcome. (singular)
Agsileen ak jaam. You’re all welcome. (plural)
Baal ma. Sorry./Pardon.
Wau.Yes.
Deh-det.No.
Jaam nga am?Have you peace? (How are you?)
Jaam rek.Peace only. (I’m fine.)
Yow nag?And you?
Naka-nga sant?What’s your first name?
Maa ngi tudd … .My name is … .
Fan nga dahk?Where do you live?
Fan nga joghe?Where are you from? (singular)
Fan ngeen joghe? Where are you all from? (plural)
Maa ngi joghe les USA.I’m from the USA.
Deg nga Angale?Do you speak English?
Deg nga Faranse?Do you speak French?
Angale rekk laa degg.I speak only English.
Degg naa tuuti Faranse.I speak a little French.
Mahn deggumah Wolof.I don’t speak Wolof.
Mahn deggumah Faranse. I don’t speak French.
Degguma.I don’t understand.
Dama bahggoon … .I’d like … .
Fahn la … ? Where is … ?
Soreh na?Is it far?
Cha kanam.Straight ahead.
Chammoon. Left.
Ndeyjoor.right.
Dugghal waay!Get in!
Lii naata?How much is this?
Seer na torob.It’s too much.
May ma jaam!Leave me alone!

171 comments

  1. Hi everybody.
    My boyfriend is from Senegal and I really love him a loooot. I’m looking forward to learn phrases in Wolof. I want him to see I care a lot can you please give me some love phrases or things to say to him. Thank you =-)

    Like

    • You’re right. That is basically what it means.

      Dama means ‘I am’. La means ‘you’. Bugga means ‘like/love/desire/want’.

      Bugga is often used when indicating something that you want. For example if someone was giving you the choice between an apple and an orange and you wanted the apple you’d say ‘dama bugga pom’; ‘I want the apple/I like the apple.”

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  2. ahh good, now i know how to say i want/like/love/desire him to my boyfriend. he does speak good english but i can tell he is very surprised and happy when he hears me speak in wolof. i suppose it feels more personal 🙂

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  3. silo neka- what you doing?
    nakam- how are you?
    mang gee dem- I’m going
    mang gee dam lee gay-im going to work
    wa cha nga- you off from work?

    This is gambian wolof, i hope it helps you like it did me i learning from my husband and his cousins who speak it and are from Gambia.
    Noup nala- i love you
    numa nala- i miss you

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    • Hi, this Q is for Bamber…i think the first two questions you have posted above are informal and mainly used among friends as ive been told my my boyfriend and his friends who are from The Gambia as well. You should follow up with your husband as i was urged not to learn these questions this way first. I think its a little too familiar to address elders. but, id welcome feedback if im incorrect as well.

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  4. Thank you for visiting my blog and for liking my post Learing Wolof. I have enjoyed reading this page and the comments as they remind me of our wonderful trip to Senegal for our son’s wedding. Now Iknow what to reply when somone says “I miss you “

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  5. Hello all! Naka ngeen def?
    My husband is Senegalese and I was wondering if anyone could share any romantic phrases in Wolof. Anything that one would whisper during a romantic candlelight dinner or sms to let the person know that you’re thinking of them.
    Jaajef waay!
    Ania

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    • i have been told a term of endearment for your loved one is cherry coco. it is how my boyfriend and i refer to each other…he wants to be married and i think we still need to work together to see if we can be a good pair. no funny business goes on here except affection like hugs and kisses or holding hands. i am struggling with his culture of just getting married without taking some time to get to know each other. advice anyone??

      Like

      • I recognize everything you say. My boyfriends tells me exactly the same. He wants to marry me, but I need more time to get to know eachother. I met him 18 months ago, but we only spend 6 weeks together ( 2 times 3 weeks)

        How is your relationship now?

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  6. hey can someone halp mw with a translation…i need to know the meanning of this phrase “akh ki dou moromou domou khadj bobou” Does someone know?…thank you

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  7. Hi everyone!

    I would really like to learn wolof.
    My dad is a gambian but unfortunately he never thaught me wolof.
    I only see my family in the gambia once in 2 years. So its difficult to learn it everyday. Could you guys please help me!

    Thanks

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  8. Hi, I’m italian. i listened a beautiful song named nana ye. I’m a teacher and I would to teach this song to my little students.
    Can anyone tell me the correct text and translation please?
    More or less is
    Nana ye zimbe
    Nana ye zimbe
    Nana ye somalé nana zimbe.
    Suma doom jangal so bougué an diplo.

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  9. hello matteo. who is this song by? I’m having trouble making sense of the lyrics. i have no idea what nana ye zimbe is supposed to mean but i do know that ” suma doom jangal so bouge am diplome” literally means “my child learn if you want to have a diploma” basically the singer is imploring the child to get an education. wish i could be of more help.

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    • I think he was saying you are welcome, which also literally means ‘we share it.’ It is often written with an accent above the n – ñokobok – pronouced nyokobok.

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  10. my parents re nigerians bt i ws born in d gambia brikama to be precise…….i ws good in wollof n madinko bfor bt wen i n my family relocate i find it hard to rememba d languagues…..pls sumone shud help me cz i nid to learn my language again

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  11. hello I’m dating with a Gambian and wanna tell him some romantic sentences . I’m trying to learn some basic words to make him happy! but now I need ” I am the luckiest girl in the world because I found you and never gonna let you go again ” plz help me ! 🙂
    thx

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    • Kheweul – happiness, often heard in the phrase ‘jamm ak kheweul’ – peace and happiness.

      Balnaala – I forgive you, often used at festivals when people say ‘balma ak’ – forgive me, to others who reply ‘balnaala’.

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  12. Living in NY since ’98, I found out long ago each English vowel can have up to 5 or 6 different sounds; unlike the English we were taught in Senegalese High school..
    Wolof pronunciation is easier because each vowel has but one sound if I am not mistaken, like French. Because we wolof speakers don’t have our own alphabet; we use the french one .
    The A in wolof or french always sounds like the O in Mott or robOt; well unless the A is succeeded by the vowel i or u.
    The O in wolof, mostly sounds the same as the O in bOy; unless it is succeeded by U or i ; but I can’t think of a Wolof word with oi sound.

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  13. Hi everyone, love this thred. Im married to a Senegalese man and we have lots of trouble with comunicaions, from both languagebarriers and cultural diffrencies, yean and the common woman/man challenge.

    What does “nou nou” mean? For example “Fofo nou nou” or “nou no la”
    How to say “I wish people could have more patienser” and “I wish we could understand eachother better”
    And a Word for Communication

    Like

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